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‘I Thought You Knew’

So this was submitted to Stupid Shit Cheaters Say this week:

“I thought you knew about my romantic and sexual relationships all along and were okay with it!”

Which is really a pernicious sort of mindfuckery. Not only are you cheated on, you’re apparently so dimwitted as to have forgotten you consented.

Oh right, last Tuesday, we were going to go play tennis, but you had already scheduled an orgy with Cheryl and Mike. 

Betrayal as calendaring error.

“…were okay with it.”

That’s a bold bit of DARVO too. Of course you seemed okay with it — because you were UNAWARE OF IT.

No, no, he’s sure he mentioned it. Or like, you would’ve intuited it from his new haircut.

Who said the best defense is a good offense? This bit of crazy-making goes on the offensive to make you the person who misunderstood. Not them the person who deceived.

To take it further, it’s also implied, oh I thought you were cool. The sort of person who rolled with such things. But I see now that you’re one of those uptight, unsophisticated people. I mistook you for hip. My bad.

So perhaps the best response to this SSCS is to move their stuff out on to the lawn in trash bags.


I thought you knew.


Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I love the comeback! Sell the stupid collection! “I thought you knew”. Book a lovely time away with a good friend! “I thought you knew”. The ultimate get-out-of-jail card ????

  • My favorite is “prude” or “you’re so vanilla.”

    Any time anyone uses this as an insult, I know it’s time to get out of dodge.

    Another one is “chill.” I haven’t encountered this as much as the other two, but the times I have I told them I’m the opposite of chill, I actually have boundaries and expectations.

    I don’t know when dating has gone down the toilet (I was happily single for a decade), but the interactions I’ve had over the past two years have convinced me that singledom is infinitely better and more peaceful.

      • My friends get chill or cool girl, but I see vanilla, prude of ‘I
        thought you could go with the flow’ as low grade insults.

    • When did “vanilla” become a criticism?

      I’ve seen this referenced more and more in online forums lately. I find it wild.

      • It’s the influence of online porn, militant, in your face kinksterism, and the “don’t be judgy wudgy” attitude of people who grew up after the advent of the disastrous self esteem movement schools started in the 80s, which has permeated the culture and created a ton of entitled, whiny little bitches.

        Yeah, it’s better to be single than deal with stupid people who think having boundaries is being judgemental. The irony is that they feel free to judge you.
        People are so insecure and weak they can’t even bear for others to have different preferences. They feel the need to be nasty about it in order to justify their own preferences, proving they aren’t as “cool” about them as they pretend. Dan Savage comes to mind as the embodiment of militant kink positive (and cheat positive) idiocy. I have no patience for these fools.

        • LOL you spoke my mind. My first thoughts were porn, kink positivity, BDSM, and polyamory.

          My girlfriends and I have had so many conversations about the damage we’ve seen and experienced firsthand from this shit. You can’t even be friends with people into this stuff because they think all women are fair game and inevitably get inappropriate with you.

          • Totally agree. I was led into this shit by my ex because I thought it was cool/sexy/would improve our relationship blah blah blah. All it was was a front for him to cheat out in the open and say “I thought you were cool with it”. All the while he was keeping a LTA under wraps. As well as betraying me in the open relationship crap. Oh and he used to try to get it on with any passing woman. People in this “lifestyle” see people as sex objects only.

            • “ People in this “lifestyle” see people as sex objects only.” Yes!! And it’s so uncool to “judge” and be “close minded”.

              When my ex tried to get me into swinging (only shortly after we met, huge red flag) I didn’t want to be judgmental and thought: well we’re clearly different on this, but we could perhaps try to find a balance. Except that obviously there was never going to be a balance, and he was never going to be curious in what is sexually interesting for me (connection, intimacy). looking back I see I indeed was just a sex object, only because all his mind would be able to consider was sex anyway. It was his lifestyle, his sport, his religion, and substitute for any intelligent life question he preferred to avoid asking himself.

              Think of those swinger clubs, just all these fw people all together.. yikes.

              • I’ll stop judging when porn stops sex trafficking, BDSM stops normalizing painful and degrading sex acts on women, and poly practitioners stop hitting on me and my friends in the most inappropriate settings.

                It’s gotten so bad that none of my girlfriends in Portland or SF will be friends anymore with people in alt sex communities, because they inevitably get creepy. People seem to think because you’re a woman, you want to be a sex toy in someone’s failing marriage. It’s insulting and scary.

                Also, I’ve yet to meet a poly relationship that didn’t involve cheating or abuse, but people aren’t ready for that conversation.

        • My ex tried to give me a pseudo-anthropological lecture on how humans aren’t meant to be monogamous, it’s against our nature.

          My degree is seriously in anthropology. No joke. Needless to say, I rejected that crap straight out. But really, the nerve of him to do that. But yeah, he knew we were through when I found out because I wasn’t cool enough to accept that he had a girlfriend. That’s fine. I’ve never felt the need to be cool.

          • Sounds like your Ex read the book “Sex at Dawn” by Christopher Ryan. A friend of mine who took a Tantric course said it was required reading. She is no prude, but she rolled her eyes at quotes like, “Darwin says your mother’s a whore.” & “Monogamy is shrinking men’s balls.” But that damn book has been a bestseller for 10 years. You’d see Christopher Ryan at TED talks, and even Erza Klein’s Vox Explained series on Netflix. Of course Dan Savage was a key promoter of that book.

            • “Sex at Dawn” and “The Ethical Slut” are garbage. I read them years ago, trying to keep an open mind. It would’ve been a better use of my time to use them as kindling.

              • ☝????What she wrote, plus “Mating in Captivity” by Esther Putrid ????‍♀️

            • Bold of you to assume he’d read any sort of relationship book. I think he heard it from his schmoopie. He didn’t even explain it well. When the betrayed spouse can explain your piece of crap “theory” better than you can, you just need to stop.

      • It is used to say you are so plain and boring or less interesting than people who are not “vanilla”. Sometimes it is used to mean “acceptable” as opposed to not that good. Or “vanilla” sex as opposed to “hot” or “great”. I am sure it is used to describe other things. But it is not like someone saying they LOVE vanilla ice cream or vanilla pudding.

      • I know. I guess it now means dull and ordinary. To me vanilla is just about perfect. It is smooth, satisfying and dependable. All good things.

        • When I was young, I eschewed vanilla for the more interesting flavors – raspberry or butter pecan, for instance. Now that I’m older, I’ve grown weary of the incessant variety of fruits and nuts. Vanilla has become refreshingly sweet, and it never disappoints.

        • I love vanilla…in all things including my monogamous, calm, respectful sex life.

        • “Don’t kink shame me!” = “Accept my egregious boundary violations or else you’re a bigot.” I’ll pass.

          • I saw your response about Portland (PDX?) and was clapping as I was reading. I went to UO and visited family in pdx often. There wasn’t a day without some strange man or his equally as strange gf or wife trying to rope me in to spice up their bedroom…. and then the obsession with dark skin in those scenes (I’m Black) was bizarre.

            But another city rife with “polyamorous” men is Paris. There’s the added insult of being an *American* prude if you reject their advances and getting into so-called philosophical debates about monogamy and men becoming tired after being oh so good to their wives for so long.

            Once you’ve heard enough BS from these people, it becomes so comical because it’s predictable.

            • I was treated like a dummy because I didn’t know the word for cuckold in French. I didn’t even know the meaning in English as a young twenty something. Thank God. Hard pass.

            • Yup, I live in Paris too! It’s so hard to find any guy that is not looking for “juste profiter” that I’m actually leaving this town! (Not the only reason, but still 🙂 )

              • My lip is curling up in disdain imagining the accent and sly grin as they say this.

              • I studied in Paris and got the same bullshit lines. Plus, I couldn’t go to the grocery store without men sexually harassing me.

            • Ugh, I’m sorry these people were fetishizing you. I’m a bisexual woman and for some reason, poly people assume that means my ambition in life is to fuck their ugly husband.

              I have a mentor who hosts a conference for our industry every year. He had to expel attendees for harassing some of the female guests. One guy also thought it was ok to have his dom lead him around on a dog dollar. My observation is people in these alt communities have no grip on reality, boundaries, or decorum.

              Portland is a weird city. Been there a lot over the years, and I’ve never in my life met more adults who refuse to grow up. Not surprised this culty shit thrives there.

              For what it’s worth, I’m only in my 30s and as liberal as they come. I’m open minded about a lot of things, until they demonstrably don’t work and/or hurt other people.

      • Right? Vanilla is my favorite flavor, in many areas. Vanilla is the opposite of Pervert, which is my least favorite flavor.

        • So after years of my husband avoiding sex with me, I just thought he had a lower sex drive than me. He used to talk about sex a lot, but it was like this philosophical bullshit that was rather odd, e.g. “man-boy” love being a good thing in some cultures which I pointed out sounded like a nice way of saying pedophilia is okay. In addition, he talked about his massively psycho ex who like to get chained up and “raped”. She would do stuff like get on the roof and threaten to jump because she hated her life, then he would wrestle her down from the roof and she’d want to be tied up and degraded. He complained about how awful she was, how mentally unstable and how he was so glad to be out of that mess.

          Fast forward to 25 years of marriage to me…one day in a fit of frustration, I asked him why he didn’t want sex with me. I was so demoralised. For the first time he broke down and yelled at me and said, “I don’t want any more vanilla sex!!!” I said, “Beg your pardon? I’m not boring in bed!” Fast forward again to DDay, turns out he was cheating on me for most of our marriage, porn, hookers, S&M club hook ups and then he got a sex slave girlfriend. Of course, he told me this was all my fault, that I didn’t like what he and all his other fuck buddies were into, I was essentially lame, boring, old, suburban, staid, and otherwise just a general piece of shit that had no value. I am not, apparently, like all of the other exciting, fashionable, highly evolved people around town who wear leather and beat each other up. Long story, but one night after the horrible DDay, I found his sex bag that he’d hidden from me and had been using for years. It had THE WORST stuff in it. This was not Shades of Gray fuzzy handcuffs stuff – there were exacto knives, duct tape, razor blades, needles. I was appalled. About two weeks after that, two very young women came to the door at my home looking for “a bald guy”. I asked who they were and they said they knew him from “a place they hang out in town”. They were dressed (in the middle of the day) like they’d just been to a Cosplay convention. I said, “well that bald guy is my husband.” And the really young one burst into tears. For the record, neither of them was the girlfriend my husband left me for. I’m a grown ass woman who had to tell these young girls to get the fuck off my property and not to come back. I cannot tell you the trauma all this has caused. Why do I feel bad about this???? And to top it all off…I also got the “I thought you knew” bullshit, and even more insulting, “Perhaps you weren’t paying attention to what was happening”. Mind you, this makes no logical sense given all the hiding and lying he did. I guess he was implying I was suppose to go along with the lies and pretend nothing was wrong? Mind fuckery upon mind fuckery.

          • “Lame, boring, old, suburban, staid.”

            In other words, ethical, consistent, mature, responsible and honorable. One of the worst things about FWs is that they mock us for our virtues. You sounds like a beautiful person, inside and out.

          • This… You’re such a hero, I cannot even imagine how to survive that.

    • Worst one for me was “ take it down a notch”. I wanted to know why he couldn’t/?wouldn’t visit me on the anniversary of my dad’s death. Apparently I was asking too much

  • He actually said, “You told me to get a girlfriend.”

    Yep. It’s really really really All My Fault.

    I sought out every single mental health professional that has ever gotten a check from us. I talked talked talked. He lied lied lied (when he did speak up).

    Yet our daughter won’t talk to him because of me.

    My brain needs rinsing off daily.

    • Asshat actually told me “I never would have thought of HoWorker/Wife until you suggested her”. He also said “She’s my soulmate”. So he couldn’t have figured that out in his own? Apparently Asshat is also a Dumbass.

      I was indignant at the time but now I’m just laughing that they’re married—-all because I suggested it. ????

    • Omg, my story as well. He lied in marriage counseling. When I called him on it, after DD#2 he said … wait for it … “of course I lied. You were there.”

      Our MC was convinced he wanted to stay in the marriage. He was able to manipulate and bullshit her as well. Wouldn’t the fact that he would not see a separate counselor more than twice be an indicator of someone who has no intention of inner reflection and desire to change?

      • Well… He wanted to stay in the marriage without changing anything. Mine couldn’t wait for things to “be just like before” meaning me as the compliant wife appliance, and him unchanged

        • This was almost the worst thing about wreckonciliation – FW’s insistence that we “just get back to normal.” Forty-eight hours after D-day he figured I’d grieved enough and asked for sex. When I declined he then whined, “well can you at least give me a hand job?” ????

        • Yep, we were “suppose” to stay married as well. I ruined his plans when I said, “no”, it’s not okay that you’ve been buying hookers, going to S&M clubs and now, he’s being “safer” for us because he’s got just one girlfriend. Um, No. So, the narrative goes….it’s all my fault – he wanted to stay married, it was me that split us up.

  • “Thought I knew”? How is that possible when you still have not told me? Thirty-six years and I did not EVER get an explanation. Coward.

    • Seriously. Might as well have said “your invitation must have gotten lost in the mail”. My ex’s lack of communication was a symptom of HIS stiffling boringness, and when I tired of being the dog and pony show, he found amusement eslewhere. The circus ringmaster has left the tent, the rest can breathe a sigh of relief.

  • Sounds like 60s hippy bullshit…..yeah you know like we were supposed to be free spirits loving like in nature. Sure like deer in heat! Honestly I’m amazed that civilization has lasted this long with these fuckstains running around loose

  • Apparently I should have known that our marriage had been dead for at least 10 years.

    As a consequence (at least by her logic) her cheating was not really cheating at all. Furthermore (again by her logic) the kids and I had no right to be surprised or upset by any of this. Nor, indeed (again, according to crazy person logic) did the kids and I have any right to anything beyond the crumbs that she chose to leave us.

    F*ck her and f*ck her noise.


    • She’ll go to her grave with those stupid-ass rationalizations. All the people that matter, including your kids, must see through her total BS.

      When one of your kids has a significant event (a grandchild? marriage?) and she’s pissed because she was not informed, you can say, “I thought you knew.”

      • S@35,

        I have no doubt that Ex-Mrs LFTT will continue to lie, gaslight and dissemble as long as she has breath in her body; it’s what comes naturally to her. The kids were 11, 16 and 18 when she lit the dumpster fire, however they are now 17, 22 and 24, with the youngest turning 18 in about 6 months time. They know their mother for who she is.

        Once all three are adults, my response to any significant event in their lives that she is not informed about won’t be “I thought you knew,” but “They are adults. If they chose not to tell you, then I have no choice but respect their decision. Goodbye.”


        • Before I was able to go NC, my response was, “they are adults, they have their own phones, cars and lives. When they are ready to speak with you they will.” As far as I know he is still blaming me for parental alienation which is completely ridiculous they were 17,19 and 24 when he nuked our family for his AP, plenty old enough to make their own decisions about their relationship with him.

        • LFTT,

          And that certainly is the more mature response. I was half kidding. ????

          Yay for 6 months from now when you will be completely free of her!!

          Kudos to you for being the sane parent.

          Good luck,

          • S@35,

            No offence taken. 🙂

            Sadly, Ex-Mrs LFTT is notoriously thin-skinned when it comes to perceived slights (narc much?) and so I have learned to play everything with “a straight bat and soft hands” when it comes to her. Playing back “I thought you knew” would just give her the opportunity to tell me that it is all my fault that she didn’t know, that I need to stop being such a terrible person for witholding information and why am I still so bitter???? blah blah blah etc etc.

            Telling her that she didn’t know because an adult chose not to tell her makes it clear that it wasn’t my decision and that I am not getting involved, and then allows me to end the conversation without having to listen to any more of her self-serving and self-pitying sh*t.


            • Brilliant! That’s certainly the way to go and good advice for all of us dealing with narc FWs.

              • S@35,

                Well I happen to think that life is waaaaaaaaaaaaay to short to listen to her bullsh*t if I have a choice. Now that we’re divorced (and even more so once all 3 kids are adults) I don’t have to ….. that’s what her AP is for (and I bet he’s sick of it).

                If he’s reading this (which I doubt); dude you are f*cking welcome to her. Remember …. no takeybackies. 🙂


    • Oh yes this! Once I was chastised for not getting her a mother’s day card from the kids. ” I know you don’t like me but why put the kids in the middle of this “? They were 3y and 18 months at the time . I truly didn’t think about it and for a short time I felt bad about it. Then I thought hmmmm is this on the same level as her betrayal?

      • Never once have I gotten a thing for him on behalf of our daughter (who was not quite a year when I found out about his BS, and around a year and a half when we divorced). She makes her own father’s day, Christmas, etc. things for him. Unless *she* asks me for my help, it is NOT my job. To have expected anything “on behalf of the kids” when they’re so small is utter crap. Also, that they think they even deserve a father’s/mother’s day card when they did what they did. The motherfucking chutzpah.

  • “I thought you knew and were ok with it” is right up there with “We both knew the marriage was over.” But while both encode the old “what’s your problem?” the first one’s inclusion of “and were ok with it” is a mindfuck of added proportions, blameshifting onto the chump it’s implied meaning of “Why are you complaining now after you gave me implicit permission by never saying ‘no’? How unreasonable of you!”

    Somehow they convince themselves that they have discerned in you a believe, an attitude, or a quality that you yourself have no knowledge of, to give themselves permission and a guilt-free conscience to do what they wanted to do in the first place. Then when you object, it’s your problem.

    The real problem is that it is exactly their initial mental gymnastic move of discerning in you something you yourself are not aware of (and would disagree with) reveals exactly the opposite of what they think it does. It doesn’t absolve them of blame and guilt, it screams how blame-worthy and guilty they are. But of course, that is a state of mind and a state of things they cannot accept, so then they attack.

    The farther out I get from my 35 year mindfuck of a marriage, the more I see and understand, the happier I am that I put my foot down and said no more. Life without a fuckwit in it is SO MUCH BETTER!

    • Sorry for the typos: “its” not “it’s” and “belief” not “believe.”

      • “The farther out I get from my 35 year mindfuck of a marriage, the more I see and understand, the happier I am that I put my foot down and said no more. Life without a fuckwit in it is SO MUCH BETTER!” That’s how I feel too! Only mine was 30 years. I got released from the fuckwit jail 5 years before you did.

    • Adelante,

      Your analysis resonates with me. I feel this way about my situation but couldn’t articulate it. This helps.

      Oh and although I still feel the sting of the betrayal and nurture revenge fantasies, I do see that I’m happier by far without that lying, blameshifting, gaslighting, selfish, entitled, mindfucking, better-than-thou (until the mask fell) FW. #notatmeh


      • I’m at a similar stage after 26 years. That last little bit of letting go is hard, but I’m getting there.

  • How do we know cheaters are lying?

    They’re still breathing. As long as a cheater is breathing, they’re lying. They can’t even stand in a room without being there dishonestly, because their dishonesty permeates every aspect of their every waking hour. That’s what cheating is made of.

    If a cheater is speaking to you, about anything, even an itch on their arm, you can immediately assume the statement is suspect.

    Ergo, if the cheater says something observational about YOU, assume it is suspect. Don’t believe it without careful vetting. More than likely it’s constructed to manipulate you in some way, even if it seems nice.

    Liars lie. Don’t allow them to define anything about how you think about yourself. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, but that doesn’t ever mean the clock’s accuracy indicates anything other than simple happenstance.

    • Yes. Cheaters cheat and liars lie and cheaters are liars and they don’t change!

      Now that I know what my FW father (FWF) is, I now see HOW MUCH he lies. All. The. Time. I catch him in so many lies it is embarrassing. I think that he thinks or has convinced himself that all of his lies are truths and that is how he is so convincing. People don’t suspect that most of what he says is a lie.

      If you catch him out on it and say something that contradicts him, watch out! Yesterday he said something and I didn’t even accuse him of lying, I just questioned “how will that happen?” (knowing full well that it cannot and will not be possible). He started screaming at me…. “DON’T CHALLENGE ME ON THIS! I DON’T HAVE THE NUMBERS IN FRONT OF ME BUT IT WILL HAPPEN!” And then started listing the ways in which it will happen, all of which are either wrong or grossly exaggerated.

      It is almost funny if it weren’t so pathetic.

      • The pathological lying from my ex wife has been a huge eye opener. I started noting her messages and emails and listened and noted what she was telling me in person and it was lie after lie after lie non stop. Even everyday mundane topics were covered in lies. I feel ashamed for her that she is the disordered way she is. Why on this earth did I ever have kids with her! Now I’m having to paternity test my little girl.

    • I continue to catch my ex lying. When I called him on it, his response is, “well, I don’t lie about things like this.” Uhhuh. Well, Mr Little Boy Who Cried Wolf, I can’t believe a thing you say, about anything.

      Btw, he tried to claim that he’s entitled to head of household after child support ended. Said it wasn’t his idea — the tax guy suggested it. We have the same CPA — so now the COA knows he was lying as well. Oh, and CPA told me he told him to back off.

      I don’t think the ex realizes I get HH throughout college as well, even though he’s paying her room & board. (We split tuition.) ex tried to make it look like I wasn’t supporting our child. I explained that he’s supporting her directly now, instead of through child support. She’s fine with it. After all, he has two incomes, now that he’s living with OW.

    • Oh, this reminds me of the word salad my ex tossed my way after Dday:

      “Come tell me I’m a pathological liar to my face, and then YOU’LL be the liar.” This was followed by a threat: “If you don’t trust anything I say, then the divorce won’t go well.”

      He was somewhat correct about that. The divorce didn’t go that well…FOR HIM! lol.

      Consequences are a bitch! If you show a pattern of lying, you will lose your credibilty. That’s what happens. And the excuse that you “only lied about one thing” every day for many years is beyond pathetic.

      But I won’t tell him that because of NC!!! It feels good to write it here.

      • I called my ex wife a pathological liar last year and she shouted back “I’m not a liar”. They live in their on little la la land, they honestly do.

        • “I’m not a liar.”
          In his very solemn and sober voice, skaking his head at the unfairness of being called a liar.

          After he had just been caught in the god awful series of events that are enough to take one’s breath away.

          • My ex has come up with a strange new form of lying. It goes something like this: I write an email saying something like, “come and pick up the few remaining things from the house. I will leave them outside for you in two boxes.” He will then commence a strange email argument. It’s like this: “I don’t wish to follow this process. You have previously stated that I have many personal items in the home so therefore two boxes will not suffice to hold my belongings.’ Okay, so here’s why it’s lying – I never said anything like that in the “you have previously stated” part. It’s 100% completely fabricated. It makes me nuts. The mindfuckery is intense. I never know how to answer this shit. It’s getting worse as I try and finalise the separation. Has anyone had this weird kind of lying? It’s a pattern I’m well aware of now.

            • Yes. And part of it, at least in my case, was that my ex didn’t like to be told what to do. So, “Come at this time to pick up 2 boxes,” or something like that was met with resistance.

              The as “you have previously stated” sounds like something my ex would have said. It IS infuriating. As I mentioned in another comment, even when I presented him the email evidence to refute his claim, he still dug in his heels.

            • Yes, I have had those discussions. It is difficult not to take the bait and get your head in the mindfuck blender. My strategy is to go grey rock for anything outside of my focus. With your two boxes sample, I’d try and answer “anyway, the things will be on the curb at xxx time”. Notice I don’t mention the number of boxes, or boxes, or who’s belongings anymore: I try to remove unnecessary details from the discussion. My point is that I am discarding things and giving him the opportunity to pick it up. I might mention in writing when I’ll move the things to the recycling park, or garbage day. For documentation purposes 🙂 It has been 6 months now. I am getting better at this game

  • I hate the “I told you weeks ago” so forth. My Ex wife gas lit me like that for years and with major events too. I truly thought I was getting dementia in my 30’s!. Now I’m not with her and my memory is rather good. Gaslighting is their thing. In the middle of her affairs last year I seen she was buying stockings on amazon. I asked and she said “I bought these long time ago and don’t even remember buying them”, nope it was 2 weeks ago you bought them and had them delivered to your sisters house. Funny how never wore that stuff prior to her current cheating. Hey ho it’s just all in my head.

    • Mine convinced me I was going crazy and even got me an appointment with a psychiatrist and put on medication.

      She would then tell me my medicine wasn’t working and I needed it up’d or changed. She was a RN so I assumed she semi knew. Had no clue she was painting a picture of me being crazy and paranoid to cover up her cheating. I was basically the only one taking care of our small child and when she would come home after midnight drunk, she would say she was sorry I was having to be a dad and spend time with my child. I began to think she was normal and I was nuts.

      • Glad you got rid of the sociopath. I’m sad for your child who has a sociopath for a mother.

      • Oh geez, KR. That’s the very definition of gaslighting. I’m glad you’re rid of her now! It’s mighty of you to see what was really happening.

      • That’s crazy. She is crazy and a disgusting person.

        I never had mental health or medication thrown at me but if I went off on one and we were arguing and I’d throw things she did at her she would reply “what’s wrong with you” and I would simply reply that she was what was wrong with me. She was the cancer in my life. I’m so glad I took the trash out. I had false DV allegations and made to look as an abuser. 15 years and just happened to turn into an abuser as soon as she was caught cheating with dozens of men? Oh please give me a break. Just all a diversion and controlling the narrative that they are horrid low lifes.

        • My SIL has done that with my brother….tells him he has Aspbergers or that something else is “wrong” with him and he needs to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist. Meanwhile, she’s batshit crazy. What’s wrong with him is that he’s married to her.

          I worry about their daughter because the household is so stressful and her mother is so controlling and has such a strong influence.

      • There is this really old book, The Script, and it details how nearly all cheaters use this “you’ve got mental illness” approach to cover their a$$es.

        • Oh dear! Mine kept telling me I was crazy until I went to the doctor and came out with a “burn out” diagnosis, six months sick leave and a reference to a psychologist who started teaching me boundaries. That was 30 months ago. So I slowly started to change. And hauled him in couple therapy 24 months ago. And as I wrote above, he did not want to change anything. He wanted his wife appliance back. Too bad I went to the doctor and got cured of my craziness! Ha!

      • I’m glad you made it out alive. If she was willing to go that far, there’s no telling what her limits could have been.

  • Mine said he was afraid he wouldn’t/wasn’t cool. I think he equates having affairs and group hook ups as cool.

    • My ex equated high school-style “romances” with ditzy, adoring young women with coolness. In one of the emails I saw from his return from visiting one AP once, FW commented on being in the parking lot of a grocery store, watching some geeky kid collect shopping carts, and feeling “cool.” WTF? Affairs, group hook ups, porn, strippers and fake romances are cool? I guess don’t get it.

    • My theory is that a lot of these cheaters were not considered “cool” in high school, and they are desperately trying to be considered “cool” now. In their pea brains, being cool means being a “playah.”

  • This brings to mind one of the best CL advice “trust they suck!”

  • Reminds me of something my father once wrote about my mother — who did know. He said that since she never left him, how bad could it really have been? (He was a serial cheater.). She did choose to stay, and actually said to me when I was 20, that she “triumphed” by staying because she was still around when all those other women faded away. She said that people she knew who had left their husbands over cheating ended up alone and regretting it!!! This is the advice I got about men and marriage.

    • “How bad could it have really been?” I.e. “I’m a nice guy, if I wasn’t, Chump wouldn’t have stayed AND even if it was bad, she accepted it (really? Did she know?) and it’s her own fault for staying – not like I had a gun to her head (just financial and emotional and family and housing leverage…and maybe a gun) AND doesn’t that prove she’s crazy and somethings wrong with her, too, if she stayed and it was so bad. See, we just couldn’t get along and the marriage has been over for years.”

      Ali, this logic drove me batty before I got out (and really, until I found CL and trusted myself again). I was so upset when my ex used this argument to excuse himself – and worse, to undermine and minimize my pain, confusion and outrage. It was crazy making for me personally, knowing FW also used this to spin stories to friends and family was unbearable. Now that I know this is so common, and now that I trust they suck, I’ve been able to breathe through the frustration when it pops up… still happens, but far less frequently, and less extreme.

      • My elderly disordered parents are using this on me now “we must have been great parents, look how good your turned out”. Believe me it was despite them that I did well, not because of them.

        • Yes!!! This was used by my mother’s family – she was physically and mentally abusive to me my whole childhood, then through adulthood until I cut her off – but ‘it couldn’t have been that bad, look how good you turned out’. I always say “I turned out okay IN SPITE of her, not because of her!’ These are the same people who took a picture of me as a 3 year old with a black eye and stitches on my eye brow ‘because we thought if she could see the picture she would see what she was doing’. Like LIVING FREAKING COLOR wasn’t good enough?!?!?! You just can’t out run their mental gymnastics!!

    • Ali, my family was exactly the same. Multiple generations of cheaters and their chumps. My grandmother told me her story of the OW, and this was her friend until the day she died. My grandmother felt she was ‘above’ the cheating by not acknowledging or reacting at all. Well, she was a bit frosty. Can’t imagine they had many truly loving and intimate moments. What a farce. My great-grandmother had a private funeral for her cheater to keep the OW away. My parents both cheated and divorced. Progress.

      • IamChump wow. Yes, progress! I am divorced — I consider it a better fate than my mother’s.

    • #triumph #notwinning

      Interesting how all my close female French friends of the road were daughters of cheater/chump couples like me???? Birds of a feather flock together.

      I accompanied a friend to her hometown in Normandy and we stayed with her mum and granny. The father came by for a visit. He was going back and forth but spent most of his time with his much younger mistress and their small child, according to my friend. The mother said to me “I know he’ll come back to me some day.” Sure he will…

      • Ahhh I’ve been infinitely turned off by a few interactions with French men. Some others I’ve met hate the attitude re: affairs, but the majority of them have been dishonest bobos.

    • Alone is light years better than abused, a tragic distinction none of those women made.


  • Whitney becomes the first “repeat” artist featured in the parody collection . . .


    (music by Whitney Houston, lyrics by DARVO cheaters everywhere)

    There’s a girl we know, she’s a special friend of ours
    Ties me up with rope, likes to give me golden showers, mmm-hmm
    Oh, I gave you clues, planted notions in your thoughts, uh-huh
    But it’s not my problem, if you can’t connect the dots

    Ooh, you should have known (I’ve made a shit show)
    You should have known
    You should have known (enjoy the DARVO)
    You should have known

    You should have known that I was a cheater
    You’re forced to be a keen mindreader
    I’m not real good at being discreet
    We’ve set you up to become a shit eater

    You should have known that I was a cheater
    And bear it all in silence (don’t speak)
    Mindfucking you’s a wonderful treat
    Accept the fact: I’m a feeble creep . . .

    • Excellent! I know from reading here that you hear this a lot but – You do have a real talent 🙂

    • After you get your hands on them, I will never again listen to any of the songs you parody for Chump Nation without laughing. Rueful laughter at first, but then genuine laughter at those idiot cheater saps that inspired your prolific creative gift.

  • I got fussed at for not knowing. If I were truly her soulmate I would have known.

  • “She accused me of cheating so many times, I decided why not”……FW actually said this to my attorney when he was questioning him during his deposition. He also admitted to serial cheating even though it was not a question; at points in the deposition it seemed like he was bragging about his sexual conquests to my attorney. Even his attorney looked disgusted. Afterwards, my attorney said that FW was the kind of person who was interested in nothing more than f*cking any willing partner.

    The thing is yeah, early on I accused him of cheating, AFTER he told me that people at work, (we worked in the same office), were talking about him and a coworker having an affair, but not to worry it was all just a misinterpretation of their friendship and he didn’t want me to find out from anyone but him. I also accused him of having an affair when he spent a week in a hotel on two different occasions to find himself in the first 5 years of our 20 year marriage. After that, I just quit asking or accusing, I don’t know if it was Stockholm syndrome or some sort of mental conditioning, but I honestly trusted that he would not cheat on me.

    • Your post just triggered in me a memory of my ex well before Dday.

      The staff in his practice suspected a married doctor and an unmarried (younger, duh) nurse of having an affair.

      My ex defended them and told me that he explained to the nurse that sometimes women are just jealous of attractive women. WTF????? So sexist! And so weird!

      I remember questioning his reasoning and getting a pit in my stomach because I didn’t understand why he was sanctioning the whole thing and why he didn’t seem interested in learning the truth. He just accepted their denials.

      Chumpy me decided that he was to be commended for giving this “couple” the benefit of the doubt. (eye roll)

    • Chumperella,

      Based on his weirdly defensive reaction and the reaction of people at work, I’d bet he actually was having an affair. The blame-shifting (she accused me so many times, I figured I might as well cheat) is just mindfuckery and gaslighting. Probably even a straight up lie. Just a hunch from my own experience with cheaters. If I were you, I wouldn’t sweat it. He wanted to take the heat off of himself by getting you to doubt yourself, and it sounds like it worked.

      Glad you got out. ????

  • My ex never sad he thought that I knew. He said that I gave him permission to cheat. Because one day he was being pushy about going somewhere. I did not want to go. I finally said, “go find someone else to go with then.” He took that as permission to start seeing my cousin. Funny thing is he never told me he was seeing her. Even when I found out he initially denied seeing her. I asked him why he denied seeing her for 4 years. He said that if I knew he was seeing her that I would get angry and go nutso on her. Hmm, last time I checked giving permission meant I was ok with it. Cheaters will use any excuse to justify their shitty choices.

    • Woooowwwwww….! So like going somewhere with someone now means go fuck them and start an affair with them? Silly me for thinking it literally meant just go to the thing with another person. Like I’d invite a friend or something. And go to the event and that’s it, end of story, no sexy time or anything.

  • Only slightly different, but after I filed for divorce ex-AH started talking about “after we decided to split” – like his already being shacked up with Fat Ankles had nothing to do with it!

  • I got a major red flag at my wedding. And the same old, “but I told you this.”
    He told me he went to University of Michigan. Great! At the wedding rehearsal dinner, his best man (such an asshole) gave a toast which was basically making fun and giving him a hard time about not graduating from college. X’s sisters were furious and I was bewildered. He assured me he had told me that he never graduated. I wracked my brain to remember assuming (chump alert!) that I just wasn’t a good listener and I needed to work on that. It’s the definition of gaslighting – you are told a lie that makes you question yourself and your reality. I wanted to talk about it to understand why I didn’t listen more carefully. I asked him “do you remember if I was reading a book? Or maybe I was heavy traffic?” I wish I could go back in time and give that trusting, naive, pushover woman a great big hug.

    • I was told the same lie in re: graduating from a university that he had not. Then when it all came out and our adult son knew then I was told that I was telling our son lies and alienating our son from him. I guess to my ex that telling the truth is considered alienating. These people all use the same handbook!

      • My ex told me he graduated from Army Ranger school. I believed it for years. Along with the stories of his heroic exploits in various war zones.

        Turns out all of it was either made up or “borrowed” from someone else’s life story.

        He used to tell me he was good at spotting “fake” former Rangers. Making me think HE hated fakers was a good way to deflect any suspicion I might have had away from him! They lie as easily (and probably as frequently) as they breathe.

        • OMG Hopium. So many of them are ‘wanna be’ soldiers or cops, or some type of hero.

          My nex used that, and added false tales of horrible childhood abuse.

          There is no basement to their illicit behavior.

          A person feels dirty for having ever lived with them. Or at least I do.

    • Note to self “Demand to see prep school and uni diplomas from potential mate”

      I know of at least five people that lie about these things, even posting their lies on Fakebook/LinkdIn/professional bio pages

  • Ho’s nickname amongst family and friends is fatnasty (fat-nasty). And that’s only because Fredo used to talk shit about bigger women then gets a whore who is quite rotund (I’m average size). After they found out it seemed one of the things the kids had the most trouble wrapping their brains around is that he was cheating with a large woman, that’s how shitty he was about bigger girls. I’m the one who pounds into them that good people are beautiful no matter their measurements and ugly rots from the inside and oozes to the surface.

    • whoops! This was in reply to a comment made about ‘fat ankles’ and ‘fat ass’ above.

    • OMG ThursdaysChild! I love that you refer to your ex as “Fredo” it says it all.

  • Ex said she wanted to be polyamorous. I said fine but not while she’s with me. She told everyone that meant I had said that she was welcome to be polyamorous as long as I didn’t know about it…. AND they all bought it and thought I was controlling AF because it turned out I have boundaries.

    • ???????? Oh, man, the thing in the queer community about being “controlling”… Fortunately, in my case, nobody has used that word to my face except STBX herself. Maybe the Switzerland friends agreed, but I don’t care, because I’ve jettisoned them. All best to you, ((mc))!

  • There was an advice column today about a man unhappy with his wife’s past possible affair with a long-time friend of her brother’s. He’s upset that the child is now developing a relationship with the guy and is upset when he talks about the guy. The columnist suggested the father change the subject. I’d suggest a paternity test LOL – after reading here, it added up that the guy might have been an affair partner much earlier than suspected. Perhaps he should have known…

  • I used to get that mind f, making me think I’d forgotten a trip or outing he was going on. As he was getting dressed or packing a bag I’d say where are you going, “oh that work thing, remember? I told you last week.” When he hadn’t said a word about it to me.

    The depths of mindfucking they will go is unreal! To actually say, he thought you knew about the cheating?! I guess that helps make the path forward clear.

    • Yeah, interesting point. And it’s hard to know whether cheaters neglect to mention things in order to keep us in the dark and off-kilter, never able to respond in time – or whether they do it because they themselves don’t remember what they’ve told whom. One of the many reasons I could never cheat is that I could never keep track of what has been communicated in all those conversations. With my STBX, the array was truly dizzying during affair #2: she had to keep track of what the actual truth was, vs. what she had told me, what she had told AP, and what she was telling up to a dozen other people who knew about the affair. No wonder she looked like a deer in the headlights that entire summer! STBX was no spy mastermind, that’s for sure. But of course regardless of why they do it, it’s unacceptable and ultimately has the effect of making us chumps feel gaslit.

      • I remember wondering if he had told OW or another friend and thought he’d mentioned it to me. I think that happened plenty and I think he purposely played that little trick as a get out of the house free card. I looked back at messages and I most often had no clue where he was or what he was doing.. and the scary part is I trusted him! A pathological liar!
        They cannot keep up with the lies. Mine would have a really long pause when someone would ask him a question about his whereabouts. He played it off like, he’s a slow talker, bs only when trying to remember the lie.

        • Ugh, same. Years and years, sleeping with (or more often than not, NOT sleeping with) the enemy.

          The layers of deception serial cheaters have to manage! Does shed light on some of their baffling and shitty behaviors, once you know some of the truth. Conscience/no conscience, that must be stressful! A chump’s worst nightmare, for sure. Not that FW gets my pity now (though there was a time not so long ago – YMBAC if…). I’ve totally reflected back on that deer-in-headlights look, LezChump, with new understanding. Wow. So fucking bold and entitled – and what the hell for? I honestly CAN’T imagine doing that for years.

    • So true! When He was there he would talk “at” me. We never had a casual, civil, partner conversation. I read at one point to tell them what you need going forward then shut up and watch. I began writing down exactly what he said with the date a time so he couldn’t deny or mind fuck me any more. He still tried to say it was me that was incorrect. Maybe you were drinking? Such bullshit as I was the only parent and always on alert for an emergency if the kids needed me.
      He didn’t know I was writing it down but it was always on the counter in the kitchen because that’s where I usually saw him. I didn’t worry he would pick it up because he was rarely around and it in the open. He just really enjoyed going through everything else Inowned snooping trying to find something as bad as he was doing for justification of his dirty deeds. We are nothing alike

      • When mine tried to gaslight me, I sent him the email thread of our conversation that proved my version of the story. Even then, with it in writing, in his own words, he tried to wriggle away. It would have been fascinating to witness if it hadn’t been so upsetting to me.

        • It *is* fascinating, in a horrible way, isn’t it? Like a true crime documentary unfolding in slow motion. That “forensic” attitude is definitely something that kept me mired for a while: if I just show her the evidence, she’ll see! Um, no.

  • Right? Vanilla is my favorite flavor, in many areas. Vanilla is the opposite of Pervert, which is my least favorite flavor.

  • Such an horrific thing to say to the victim of their betrayal.

    These people are grade A abusers.

  • One of the many excuses he gave (while simultaneously claiming that it was “only” an emotional affair) is that we had agreed to it at some point in the past. He pointed out that I had mentioned that a guy at work was flirting with me and then a few weeks later I was late coming home from work (a 16 hour night shift in a Neonatal ICU…I wouldnt have wanted to screw Jason Momoa after a 16 hour shift).

    Believe it or not, it may have been one of the very few times that my argument might have actually shown him some of his wrongness:

    – I reminded him that we have conversations over what pizza to order, so if we were going to change the terms of our marriage, surly a memorable conversation would have happened

    – I told him, no the guy flirted with me…that results in temptation but temptation is up and down the road, everyone is tempted – it is what you do with temptation that shows your character

    – I said “if you have been carrying on relationships with women based on the fact that you believe that I cheated on you, then you have made a terrible mistake.

    I believe that some version of regret ate at him in the last years of his life. I think he knew that we were way past having any true intimacy in our marriage. It wasnt until after he died that I learned that a lot had happened that I was absolutely unaware of.

    So yea, the above points I made to him might have mattered like 1% to him, mostly he didnt give a fuck what I felt or thought about anything. He did stop with the “you knew” excuse and moved onto something else.

    • “…mostly he didnt give a fuck what I felt or thought about anything.”

  • Not related to today’s blog post but Tracy’s January 29th one, dedicated to Jason Collier Serial Douche.
    I just caught the tail end of a two episode kibble fest hosted by Dr. Phil . Wtf ???? The doctor attributed Douchebag’s behavior to ptsd and suggested a neurological work up before emotional support. Apparently little Jason was morbidly obese most of his life and didn’t enough attention before his gastric bypass surgery. Waaahhhh !

    • Meant to write “didn’t get enough attention from women”

  • Cheating isn’t due to a lack of respect for a partner. Cheating is treating the partner like they don’t even exist. Therefore the “I thought you knew” is feasible to the cheater because they don’t see you as someone who needs any sort of a formal update. You have been devalued and are merely in the scenery of their narcissistic play. They would just as soon inform the dishwasher of their activities, and at least the dishwasher wouldn’t argue with their perceived right to do anything they damn well please.

    My X Asshat worked 5 hours away at a construction site for about 8 months of 2016, coming home for a few days every 3 weeks but still missing any real time together and even missing Thanksgiving. It was tough but I was pretty used to being his Super Wife Appliance and had kept the home fires tended for this and all of his prior work efforts, including a 2-year expat assignment to the Middle East. In my mind we were a team and all of my sacrifices were going to pay off as we approached retirement.

    Come early 2017 I realized the Asshat was preparing to go do the same construction job away from home again and when I told him I was surprised he angrily declared he told me all about it and that I am obviously dumb and crazy for forgetting. But for sure he had NOT mentioned it—another exhausting year of him being gone and having to manage everything in our lives is not something that would slip my mind. He just hadn’t bothered to inform me of his plans, and it was way easier to ignore me rather than have to deal with me. He didn’t want to argue about his right to do as he damned well pleased, even with the person who made it possible for him to completely neglect his home, pets and daughters for months at a time.

    It didn’t matter anyway since he abandoned me with his famous e-mail toodle-loo by that April. After 28 years married, 31 together, I got an e-mail as he moved out of the house while I was away on a business trip. Obviously he had so thoroughly devalued me that I barely rated any communication at all.

    The reason he sent me an e-mail? He said he didn’t want to argue about it.

    I am horrified at how much abuse I put up with for 3 decades of my life. He sucks.

    • BTW, a post script to this is that his adult daughters are NC with him and do not inform him of anything in their lives. He is apparently sad about that, as sad as a covert passive aggressive narc can be I suppose.

      I always imagined the punishment he would get for his cruel abandonment of me is that he would get only an e-mail notice that his girls are married or that he has grand babies; he would only get the same minimal communication he felt I deserved. As it stands he will not get any notice at all.


    • I totally get this. Mine had devalued me to the point he was never home and making up more and more lies about where he was going and what he was doing. The last minute trip bombs as he’s walking out of the house with a duffel bag.. excuse me are you going out of town?! He could have booked a 48-72 hour tropical vacation and I wouldn’t have been the wiser.

      What a jerk to do that by email and after so much time, they really are losers. It still hurts, even though the have the emotional capacity of an ant.

    • I’m sorry, IC, that you threw away decades of your life for a garbage person. Even if they’re not actively cheating, they’re still lying cheaters. Your comment stirred up some related, negative post-DDay memories to remind me of this.

  • The notion that we should have known they were unhappy will always irk me.

    I can’t claim that my marriage was in a great state when I learned of my ex’s infidelity. There were issues, but a lot was going on that I believed just needed time to work out. He had been studying full-time at university to complete a degree for three years (re-inventing himself in his 40s) while I was the sole income earner. Two young kids, one with a disability. I was so stressed. He was stressed. There wasn’t a lot of money and not a lot of fun to be had.

    If you had asked me then if I was happy, I would have had a hard time answering that. First, I was not happy. Second, that wouldn’t have been the point. I understood that there are times when life gets hard and sacrifices are being made. It’s not about quick high happiness, but holding out for something more enduring. In my case, I was investing in something that I believed would bring my husband more satisfaction in his life and that the pay off would be a better situation for our family and us as a couple (which would equal happiness for me).

    Well, my ex’s unhappiness meant for him that he was entitled to seek validation with other women, and his expectation was that I should have known that that would happen. Lovely.

    “You knew I was unhappy.”
    “I’ve been unhappy for a long time.”
    “Being with her makes me happy.”
    “I deserve to be happy.”

    Well, guess what? I wasn’t happy either. I had been unhappy a while too. Of all the choices in the world that could give me pleasure during my times of stress, seeking the company of other men outside my marriage did not factor in as a choice to be considered, EVER. I deserve to be happy too.

    I didn’t cheat and blow up my marriage due to unhappiness because one thing does not correlate with the other. And if there is something that “should have been known,” at the very least, it should have been that.

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